Mike Lantry, 1972
The Postgame (which is apparently a sports blog run by Yahoo) has a decent article on the non-sensical risk-aversion of football coaches especially in the NFL. The article is somewhat marred by its single minded focus on Chip Kelly, but it's nice to see people finally realize some of the glaringly obvious stupidity in conventional football play calling.
Okay, let's see if I get this straight. The main reason we need to put OSU and Michigan in different divisions is the humunguous payout that the conference will get when they meet (as they inevitably will) in the conference championship game.
We'll still play them every year, but since we don't want them to meet on consecutive saturdays, this means we have to move the U of M -- OSU tilt up to the end of October or beginning of November.
I see lots of disjointed talk about The Value of Progress and Change but at bottom, the logic is: huge rivalry+conference championship=Megabucks.
Now let me tell you why that probably won't work, and why we're risking a very valuable asset on the equivalent of a lottery ticket.
At bottom, sports rivalries are not rational. They are emotional. Mess with the atmospherics and you diminish the value of the whole event.
Timing was always key to the OSU "experience". For decades the game has been played late in the year -- the last game of the regular season (except for one season where U of M had a road game in Hawaii) and that made the stakes high. Championships were at stake nearly every year and if one team or the other was down instant redemption was possible.
Move the OSU game to October or early November and the stakes are lower. The event loses its importance. It's still OSU and Michigan on the field, but the excitement just won't be there. Lose and you can still make up the game against Northwestern next week. Win and you still haven't clinched anything.
For lack of a better way to put it, the magic will be gone. And without that magic OSU is, well, I doubt it will turn into just another game all at once, but it won't be the biggest rivalry in sports any more. It'll look and feel more like MSU. Yeah, it's still a rivalry, but (sorry Sparty) it isn't the huge year-in-year-out deal that OSU is.
And -- here's the irony -- if it's no longer the biggest rivalry in sports, then we can't assume that the league will rake in megabucks when the two teams finally do meet in the championship. Lose the excitement surrounding the matchup, lose any advantage in terms of ratings and, by extension, rights fees.
For this gamble to pay off, Michigan and OSU will need to meet in the championship pretty soon, while memories of the glory days are still fresh. Odds are against that. Let's face it, Michigan isn't all that good right now. Oh, I'm not predicting doom but I wouldn't assume that U of M will be ready for championship contention in 2012. Rich Rodriguez might not be around after this year, and how many people on this board have argued that if we get rid of Rodriguez we're looking at another three years of rebuilding? (I've gotten negged for suggesting otherwise. Don't go wobbly on me now all you spread option afficionados!)
The OSU rivalry is a valuable asset and Brandon looks set to gamble with it. For this gamble to pay off, Brandon's going to need to draw to the football scheduling equivalant of an inside straight. Maybe I'm missing something, but this doesn't look like a smart gamble.
I understand the excitement. We may get to play two OSU games a year every now and then. If it works out -- Cha-ching! But if it doesn't work out, we may not play any OSU games -- at least not the way we're used to, with championships and reputations on the line. The thrill will be gone Oh, they'll wear the right colors and the band will do script Ohio, but it won't be as exciting and it won't be worth nearly as much, emotionally or economically.
Yes, economically -- the game is a great draw, year after year, right where it is. The conference might lose that draw, diminishing the value of its TV contracts. If you still support this move, okay, but lets come to terms with what we -- at Michigan, at OSU, and in the Big Ten -- might lose if the cards don't fall right.
Apologies in advance for a retread post but my original one on this is buried.
For MgoBloggers interested in a world cup bracket type Pool, I have a RISK-themed one if you are willing to play via exchanged emails and paypal.
If just a few of you opt in, you would be added to the existing pool which should be between 10- 20 entrants not counting MgBers.
If more than a few MgBers want in, I would moderate a separate pool of up to 20 MgB entrants (the first 20 payments received). I won't accept additional payments in the unlikely event that over 20 of you want in. Either way, I would post all the picks and give weekly point total updates during the games. With 20 of you in, the payout would be $210 since I'm in it to win it if I'm crunching the numbers.
If you are interested, I set up an email account at excite.com for this endeavor. Here is the address to acquire an entry form: email@example.com
Ps. My original post with a description of the rules is on page 6 of recent posts if you didn't catch it a few days ago.
PpS: I do have a paypal account for receiving entry fees and payout if you win.